I have been talking about the emerging church a lot since I researched it for some graduate study. Here are the basics:
The Emerging Church—aka “The Emergent Church”
--A Christian movement that focuses on increasing faith by emulating Jesus without adhering to or requiring typical religious traditions or rules. The idea—most popular among young people and un-churched people [those who have never or rarely attend traditional church services]—embraces and emphasizes experience, believing that the deep connection between human experience and spiritual rightness is the key to discovering how Christ lived his live in union—or communion—with God. Participants of this movement call it a “conversation” to highlight its developmental and volatile status, as well as to emphasize interfaith dialogue rather than former “one-way evangelism.” It is arguably the pinnacle of relational ministry and places high value on good works, social activism, missional living, and community and fellowship as acts of worship.
The point: to create a kingdom of heaven on Earth, believing that Jesus came to give life in the now, not just life in eternity.
Here are some EC books that embody this new theology (a few personal faves):
The Shack, Velvet Elvis, Sex.God.
Voddie Bauchamof Grace Family Baptist, Rob Bell at Mars Hill Bible Church, DA Carson, Mark Driscolland the Resurgance also at Mars Hill, Tim Kellerat Redeemer in NYC, Todd Mangum, Erwin McManus of Mosaic, Brian McLarenat founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church, Stuart Murray Williams, John Piperof Desiring God Ministries and Bethlehem Baptist Church, Andy Stanley of Northpoint Ministries, Rick Warren at Saddleback, David Wells, and NT Wright, Ed Young at Fellowship,
A few more sites, in case you're interested:
Emerging Church Info
Every This is Spiritual
The Gods Arent Angry
Open Source Theology
And some articles if you have time:
Jones, Tony. “The State of Emergent 2006.” Next Wave E-Zine (Jan 2006).
--Underlining the changes and discoveries within the movement.
Little, Blake. “The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America.” TIME Magazine (7 Feb 2005).
--Describing the range and scope of this leader’s influence on a national level.
Hall, Chad. “What Leaders Can Learn From Rob Bell: His sold-out tour shows us a better way to engage listeners on today’s topics.” Leadership Journal (26 Nov 2007).
--Naming Rob Bell the Rock Star of this movement.
Cuccia, Vic. “An Interview with Rob Bell.” The Ooze (3 Jul 2007).
--Describing Rob Bell’s megachurch, Nooma video series, and theology.
Van Biema, David. “The Hipper-Than-Thou Pastor.” TIME Magazine (6 Dec 2007).
--Closer look at Rob Bell.
Kuo, David. “Finding the Big Jesus: An Interview with Rob Bell.” BeliefNet.
--Closer look at Rob Bell’s basic beliefs on Jesus.
Hansen, Collin. “Pastor Provocateur.” Christianity Today (21 Sept 2007).
--Describing Mark Driscoll’s ideology.
Riley, Jennifer. “Brian McLaren: Postmodern Christianity Understood as Story.” Christian Post (18 Feb 2008).
--Describing Brian McLaren’s slant on the movement.
McKnight, Scott. “Five Streams of the Emerging Church: Key elements of the most controversial and misunderstood movement in the church today.” Christianity Today (19 Jan 2007).
--Describing issues in the Church and in the emerging church movement.
The Panel. “Seven Big Questions: Seven Leaders on Where the Church is Headed.” Relevant Magazine. (Jan/Feb 2007).
--The Bigs take on the tough issues using the emerging church movement as a platform.
Kenney, David. “Dynamic Ideas: How Rob Bell’s ‘The Gods Aren’t Angry’ tour is Rethinking How We Talk about Faith.” Relevant Magazine.
--Discussing Rob Bell’s 27-stop, sold-out tour and its big concepts.